2021 ZiPS Projections: Chicago Cubs

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for nine years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Chicago Cubs.

Batters

I would argue that the current Cubs squad is a lot like The Godfather: Part III. Brilliance has been supplanted by mere competence, and most of the results look unimpressive when compared to the team’s peak. Like the latter days of Michael Corleone’s criminal empire, the Cubs have fallen from dominance. The manager for those teams is in Los Angeles, the front office’s leading light is gone, and much of the supporting cast has moved on. You can even pretend that whatever sum the Cubs lost in 2020 is a parallel to the $600 million stolen by Don Lucchesi and Archbishop Gilday through International Immobiliare! Heck, maybe Joey Lucchesi will throw a no-hitter against the Cubs.

Some of the central components of the Cubs’ more potent offenses remain in Javier Báez, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant. But none of them can boast a 2020 anywhere near their best season, and only Rizzo was really a key contributor. All three are free agents after 2021, and with the Cubs crying poor, it doesn’t seem like any big contract offers are in the works. If anything, the speculation this winter has been more about trades than extensions, particularly with Bryant. The larger issue is that all three have seen their projections follow a downward trajectory in recent seasons, so even re-signing all three would be no panacea.

The good news for the Cubs comes from outside Wrigley: if they’re not trying aggressively to win the division, nobody else in the NL Central appears to be either. The Brewers aren’t making big signings and the Cardinals were apparently content to non-tender Kolten Wong. The Pirates will be lucky to win 70 games, and the Cincinnati Reds, the division’s most aggressive team the last two winters, seem more interested in possibly shopping Luis Castillo and/or Sonny Gray than finding a replacement for Trevor Bauer. ZiPS ranks Chicago’s lineup somewhere around 10th-12th in baseball (pending the final team projections), and while that’s not particularly impressive, it may be the best ranking in the NL Central.

Jason Heyward has to demonstrate that his surprisingly solid 2020 revival has legs, but he does get his best offensive projection in a few years. Ian Happ looks a lot like a keeper and is much better in center field than he has any right to be. The problem is what comes after these two; ZiPS remains on the fence about Nico Hoerner’s long-term value, and the only offensive prospect it’s really excited about is Miguel Amaya. Catching prospects, however, will break your heart.

This offense is good enough for now, but it won’t carry the team, and the club will need a lot of investment or clever trading in 2022 to avoid looking unbearably bleak. Speaking of unbearably bleak…

Pitchers

ZiPS is decidedly not a fan of the Cubs’ pitching staff. First, the two exceptions. Yu Darvish is back and he’s a legitimate star with his reconfigured repertoire and dramatically improved control. Despite the rocky start to his stint in Chicago, he’s a wonderful pitcher to have at the top of the rotation. Elsewhere, Kyle Hendricks is one of the best number-two pitchers in the game and was fortunate to reach the majors at a time when pitch movement became sexier than eye-popping radar gun readouts.

But if Steamer is pessimistic about the back of the rotation, ZiPS’ view is more depressing than the end of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Neither Jose Quintana nor Jon Lester, both free agents, got excellent projections, but they’d still project as the third and fourth-best pitchers on the team, respectively. The computer doesn’t see Adbert Alzolay as a good bet to match his 2020 ERA of 3.05 in 21 1/3 innings, barely sees Alec Mills as a major league starter, and pegs Colin Rea as below replacement level. The only starting pitcher outside the top two with a projection you can remotely call sunny is Brailyn Marquez, whose major league debut is literally his only experience above High-A.

Similarly, ZiPS projects the bullpen as a bottom-five group based on the current roster. Most of the marginal relievers already have major league contracts for the 2021 season, making it unlikely that the Cubs will just cut them and move on. The Craig Kimbrel projection does at least suggest adequacy, which the Cubs will happily take if he can consistently maintain that level throughout the entire season. It’s not ideal if he again loses the closer job before he figures out where the strike zone is.

Despite all this, the Cubs still have a good shot at making the playoffs because, again, NL Central stuff. But this year, even if successful on those terms, will feel more valedictory than triumphant, as the Cubs look towards 2022 with a roster that will retain few of the reasons they popped champagne in 2016.

Batters – Standard
Player B Age PO PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Javier Báez R 28 SS 606 571 85 152 31 4 29 91 27 170 12 5
Anthony Rizzo L 31 1B 592 497 73 130 24 2 24 85 68 89 7 3
Kris Bryant R 29 3B 596 515 86 130 29 3 24 67 62 137 3 2
Ian Happ B 26 CF 567 488 76 122 23 2 27 77 72 168 8 5
Willson Contreras R 29 C 498 429 63 107 22 2 18 68 49 118 3 4
Kyle Schwarber L 28 LF 536 457 73 105 19 2 31 79 72 152 2 2
Jason Heyward L 31 RF 500 436 62 112 18 4 14 59 57 89 5 2
David Bote R 28 2B 431 378 51 87 17 2 16 64 44 119 5 2
Victor Caratini B 27 C 366 324 38 83 17 1 8 45 33 76 0 1
Ian Miller L 29 CF 534 490 57 126 24 4 6 46 33 97 28 6
Nico Hoerner R 24 SS 424 383 55 100 17 4 5 48 32 61 9 5
Miguel Amaya R 22 C 465 405 55 81 24 1 15 62 48 106 1 0
Patrick Wisdom R 29 3B 436 394 53 88 18 1 18 59 35 139 7 2
Abiatal Avelino R 26 SS 540 508 55 127 20 7 10 50 24 101 14 5
Jason Kipnis L 34 2B 454 403 47 96 23 1 12 56 42 96 5 1
Ildemaro Vargas B 29 2B 447 421 50 111 20 5 7 39 20 50 4 2
Rafael Ortega L 30 CF 526 480 58 118 25 6 11 51 43 94 14 6
Steven Souza Jr. R 32 RF 338 295 37 64 14 2 13 48 38 111 8 2
Jordan Patterson L 29 1B 460 415 54 92 21 2 17 50 27 146 3 2
Hernán Pérez R 30 2B 364 341 39 86 15 2 10 38 19 74 10 2
Corban Joseph L 32 2B 478 444 48 115 23 1 8 49 27 57 2 2
Trent Giambrone R 27 2B 493 450 56 100 19 1 18 55 36 137 15 6
José Martínez R 32 RF 425 386 48 100 18 1 12 51 36 95 2 0
Taylor Gushue B 27 C 371 339 38 76 15 1 12 41 25 101 0 0
Mark Zagunis R 28 RF 408 352 46 81 18 1 10 40 48 124 7 3
P.J. Higgins R 28 C 447 398 43 92 15 1 7 37 37 89 3 2
Max Schrock L 26 3B 374 345 37 84 15 1 6 29 25 66 5 2
Billy Hamilton B 30 CF 407 370 56 84 12 5 3 20 30 91 32 9
Cameron Maybin R 34 LF 343 307 40 75 17 1 6 29 33 86 11 5
Albert Almora Jr. R 27 CF 346 319 40 79 14 2 8 31 19 62 3 1
Tyler Payne R 28 C 349 326 33 70 14 1 9 35 18 80 0 0
Daniel Descalso L 34 2B 327 279 37 59 12 2 8 39 42 88 2 1
Michael Hermosillo R 26 CF 367 324 40 68 12 2 10 37 27 116 12 6
Alfonso Rivas L 24 1B 523 469 54 113 22 3 7 43 46 125 3 3
Brennen Davis R 21 CF 207 185 29 35 8 2 9 31 15 48 4 2
Ryan LaMarre R 32 CF 397 364 35 80 14 4 6 30 24 122 10 6
Cam Balego R 26 3B 434 381 43 77 17 0 8 37 39 102 2 5
Jose Lobaton B 36 C 302 276 27 57 13 1 7 28 22 85 1 0
Erick Castillo R 28 C 159 145 12 30 5 0 1 10 9 33 0 0
Josh Phegley R 33 C 265 241 33 54 12 1 8 40 14 50 0 1
Aramis Ademan L 22 SS 500 447 48 91 13 9 9 45 41 127 12 11
Vance Vizcaino L 26 LF 371 340 36 74 11 2 5 29 25 112 19 9
Christopher Morel R 22 3B 316 298 30 62 11 4 7 30 11 85 5 8
Connor Myers R 27 CF 396 367 31 68 14 4 3 24 19 148 11 6

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Javier Báez .266 .302 .487 102 .221 .331 5.5 2 3.3 Alfonso Soriano
Anthony Rizzo .262 .372 .463 118 .201 .276 6.3 4 3.3 Richie Hebner
Kris Bryant .252 .347 .460 110 .208 .299 5.8 -2 3.2 Todd Zeile
Ian Happ .250 .350 .471 113 .221 .324 5.9 -6 2.8 Ron Swoboda
Willson Contreras .249 .347 .436 104 .186 .304 5.3 -3 2.6 Johnny Romano
Kyle Schwarber .230 .340 .484 113 .254 .270 5.7 0 2.4 Greg Brock
Jason Heyward .257 .346 .413 99 .156 .294 5.2 7 2.2 Del Unser
David Bote .230 .318 .413 90 .183 .292 4.6 1 1.5 Jay Canizaro
Victor Caratini .256 .333 .389 89 .133 .313 4.6 -1 1.3 Jerry Grote
Ian Miller .257 .310 .359 75 .102 .310 4.4 3 1.3 Eddie Milner
Nico Hoerner .261 .325 .366 82 .104 .300 4.3 0 1.2 Frankie Gustine
Miguel Amaya .200 .295 .375 74 .175 .232 3.8 1 1.1 Rick Wilkins
Patrick Wisdom .223 .292 .411 82 .188 .295 4.3 0 0.9 Jim Chamblee
Abiatal Avelino .250 .285 .376 72 .126 .295 3.9 2 0.9 Aaron Holbert
Jason Kipnis .238 .312 .390 83 .151 .285 4.4 -2 0.9 Chris Truby
Ildemaro Vargas .264 .298 .385 78 .121 .286 4.2 3 0.9 Alex Cintron
Rafael Ortega .246 .309 .392 82 .146 .285 4.4 -3 0.8 Eddie Milner
Steven Souza Jr. .217 .312 .410 88 .193 .298 4.5 2 0.8 Brad Tyler
Jordan Patterson .222 .290 .405 80 .183 .298 4.0 7 0.7 Doug DeVore
Hernán Pérez .252 .290 .396 78 .144 .296 4.3 0 0.7 Julian Javier
Corban Joseph .259 .302 .369 75 .110 .282 4.0 1 0.6 Mark Christman
Trent Giambrone .222 .283 .389 74 .167 .278 3.9 0 0.6 Dan Uggla
José Martínez .259 .322 .404 89 .145 .315 4.8 -3 0.5 Keith Moreland
Taylor Gushue .224 .278 .381 71 .156 .283 3.7 -1 0.4 Alan Ashby
Mark Zagunis .230 .329 .372 84 .142 .326 4.3 -2 0.4 Todd Self
P.J. Higgins .231 .300 .327 65 .095 .281 3.4 0 0.4 Jeff Tackett
Max Schrock .243 .299 .345 69 .101 .286 3.7 1 0.3 Bruce Yard
Billy Hamilton .227 .283 .311 56 .084 .293 3.5 5 0.3 Rich Thompson
Cameron Maybin .244 .321 .365 80 .121 .321 4.2 0 0.3 Chris Clapinski
Albert Almora Jr. .248 .292 .379 75 .132 .285 4.0 -2 0.2 Ron Henika
Tyler Payne .215 .261 .347 58 .132 .257 3.1 1 0.1 Brandon Marsters
Daniel Descalso .211 .316 .355 76 .143 .279 3.8 -5 0.0 David Matranga
Michael Hermosillo .210 .288 .352 67 .142 .293 3.5 -2 -0.1 Rashad Eldridge
Alfonso Rivas .241 .314 .345 73 .104 .315 3.8 3 -0.1 Francisco Melendez
Brennen Davis .189 .267 .400 72 .211 .203 3.6 -3 -0.1 Curt Flood
Ryan LaMarre .220 .275 .330 58 .110 .314 3.1 2 -0.2 Reggie Williams
Cam Balego .202 .293 .310 59 .108 .255 2.9 2 -0.2 Pat Peavey
Jose Lobaton .207 .268 .337 58 .130 .272 3.1 -2 -0.3 Joe Oliver
Erick Castillo .207 .261 .262 38 .055 .261 2.3 1 -0.3 Pedro Grifol
Josh Phegley .224 .277 .382 71 .158 .251 3.6 -7 -0.3 Joe Oliver
Aramis Ademan .204 .277 .333 60 .130 .264 2.9 -2 -0.4 Jose Morban
Vance Vizcaino .218 .274 .306 52 .088 .309 2.9 5 -0.6 Kevin Wiggins
Christopher Morel .208 .242 .342 51 .134 .267 2.4 1 -0.8 Kyle Reynolds
Connor Myers .185 .232 .270 32 .084 .301 2.0 -1 -2.0 Justin Singleton

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Yu Darvish R 34 9 6 3.65 26 26 150.3 128 61 20 45 180 3.57
Kyle Hendricks R 31 11 10 4.11 28 28 166.3 167 76 25 35 137 4.23
Jose Quintana L 32 8 8 4.76 25 22 126.7 130 67 21 42 118 4.54
Jon Lester L 37 8 9 4.96 25 25 132.3 145 73 24 46 112 4.98
Cory Abbott R 25 7 8 5.08 25 25 125.7 125 71 22 62 128 5.09
Michael Rucker R 27 3 4 4.73 30 11 91.3 96 48 15 33 84 4.72
Alec Mills R 29 7 8 5.12 26 22 128.3 134 73 24 44 110 5.11
Brailyn Marquez L 22 5 6 4.95 18 18 76.3 73 42 10 46 76 4.86
Craig Kimbrel R 33 3 2 3.67 45 0 41.7 30 17 6 21 59 3.95
Tyler Chatwood R 31 5 5 4.91 24 13 80.7 73 44 9 54 82 4.75
Jeremy Jeffress R 33 4 3 4.05 52 0 53.3 50 24 6 21 46 4.27
Rowan Wick R 28 3 2 4.08 56 0 57.3 51 26 6 30 63 4.07
Adbert Alzolay R 26 4 4 5.10 20 17 77.7 75 44 14 40 83 5.09
Andrew Chafin L 31 3 2 4.03 65 0 44.7 40 20 5 18 51 3.69
Robert Stock R 31 3 3 4.32 40 2 50.0 45 24 6 29 56 4.36
Justin Steele L 25 3 3 4.95 12 12 40.0 40 22 6 21 38 4.96
James Bourque R 27 3 4 4.60 38 4 60.7 57 31 8 33 64 4.56
Jonathan Holder R 28 4 3 4.28 51 0 61.0 58 29 8 23 59 4.18
Jack Patterson L 25 5 5 5.09 25 10 70.7 71 40 9 42 63 5.01
Duane Underwood Jr. R 26 5 5 5.08 38 12 95.7 98 54 16 42 91 4.93
Duncan Robinson R 27 5 6 5.36 20 19 99.0 114 59 18 29 67 5.22
Erich Uelmen R 25 5 6 5.38 18 18 85.3 93 51 11 47 60 5.28
Ryan Tepera R 33 3 3 4.34 50 0 47.7 43 23 7 23 50 4.63
Dillon Maples R 29 3 3 4.29 44 0 42.0 30 20 4 35 61 4.30
Kelvin Herrera R 31 3 2 4.33 47 0 43.7 44 21 6 15 43 4.10
Tyler Olson L 31 2 1 4.34 47 0 37.3 36 18 5 17 39 4.36
Wyatt Short L 26 4 4 4.50 46 0 60.0 58 30 7 33 56 4.63
Pedro Strop R 36 3 3 4.46 44 0 36.3 32 18 5 18 35 4.78
Danny Hultzen L 31 0 0 4.72 17 1 13.3 13 7 2 8 14 5.06
Jerry Vasto L 29 2 2 4.60 26 0 29.3 27 15 4 16 31 4.68
D.J. Snelten L 29 3 3 4.64 32 0 42.7 42 22 5 25 37 4.94
Brock Stewart R 29 4 5 5.55 20 16 82.7 89 51 16 39 69 5.59
Jason Adam R 29 3 3 4.81 39 1 39.3 35 21 7 23 47 5.09
Jake Jewell R 28 3 3 4.67 53 0 61.7 62 32 8 27 52 4.74
Dan Winkler R 31 2 2 4.69 55 0 48.0 43 25 7 29 52 4.97
Bailey Clark R 26 3 3 5.17 28 4 47.0 48 27 6 30 39 5.29
Brad Wieck L 29 2 2 4.71 46 0 42.0 36 22 7 18 49 4.44
Craig Brooks R 28 3 3 4.72 43 0 53.3 46 28 7 36 60 4.83
Keegan Thompson R 26 5 7 5.65 20 20 92.3 104 58 20 32 74 5.60
Matt Dermody L 30 2 2 4.88 26 0 31.3 34 17 6 8 25 5.03
Rex Brothers L 33 2 3 5.13 31 1 33.3 27 19 5 27 45 5.04
Matt Swarmer R 27 7 11 5.66 24 22 125.7 144 79 29 38 104 5.60
Tyson Miller R 25 5 7 5.71 21 20 97.7 108 62 20 40 80 5.59
James Norwood R 27 2 3 4.94 44 0 51.0 47 28 7 33 58 4.81
Riley Thompson R 24 4 6 5.87 16 16 61.3 68 40 11 34 43 5.97
Kyle Ryan L 29 2 3 4.99 62 0 52.3 51 29 8 27 49 4.96
Colin Rea R 30 5 7 5.84 22 18 91.0 103 59 19 41 70 5.87
Dakota Mekkes R 26 3 4 5.07 46 0 55.0 51 31 8 37 58 5.14
Ben Taylor R 28 3 3 5.08 47 0 56.7 57 32 11 23 60 4.91
Cody Allen R 32 3 3 5.13 51 0 47.3 45 27 9 25 54 5.08
Ben Hecht R 26 2 3 5.40 41 1 51.7 50 31 6 39 49 5.23
Manuel Rodriguez R 24 3 3 5.36 39 0 47.0 45 28 6 35 44 5.39
Gray Fenter R 25 4 6 6.00 23 15 72.0 75 48 12 50 60 5.97
Luis Lugo L 27 4 6 6.17 20 16 86.0 97 59 17 48 67 6.04
Jordan Minch L 27 3 6 6.35 43 0 51.0 57 36 10 33 40 6.28

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Yu Darvish 10.8 2.7 1.2 7.2% 28.9% .292 120 83 3.2 Orel Hershiser
Kyle Hendricks 7.4 1.9 1.4 5.0% 19.7% .289 107 94 2.7 Dock Ellis
Jose Quintana 8.4 3.0 1.5 7.7% 21.6% .301 92 109 1.1 Kent Mercker
Jon Lester 7.6 3.1 1.6 7.9% 19.2% .306 88 113 0.9 Wilbur Wood
Cory Abbott 9.2 4.4 1.6 11.0% 22.7% .299 86 116 0.7 Tom Edens
Michael Rucker 8.3 3.3 1.5 8.2% 20.9% .306 93 108 0.7 Bill Fischer
Alec Mills 7.7 3.1 1.7 7.8% 19.6% .293 86 117 0.6 Travis Smith 스미스
Brailyn Marquez 9.0 5.4 1.2 13.3% 21.9% .299 88 113 0.5 Eric Cyr
Craig Kimbrel 12.7 4.5 1.3 11.9% 33.3% .273 119 84 0.5 Jeff Nelson
Tyler Chatwood 9.1 6.0 1.0 14.7% 22.3% .292 89 112 0.5 Jaime Cocanower
Jeremy Jeffress 7.8 3.5 1.0 9.1% 20.0% .286 108 92 0.5 Johnny Murphy
Rowan Wick 9.9 4.7 0.9 11.9% 25.0% .300 107 93 0.4 George Smith
Adbert Alzolay 9.6 4.6 1.6 11.5% 23.9% .296 86 116 0.4 Greg Aquino
Andrew Chafin 10.3 3.6 1.0 9.4% 26.7% .304 109 92 0.3 Randy Choate
Robert Stock 10.1 5.2 1.1 13.0% 25.1% .300 101 99 0.3 Jerry Johnson
Justin Steele 8.6 4.7 1.4 11.7% 21.1% .301 88 113 0.3 Nate Robertson
James Bourque 9.5 4.9 1.2 12.2% 23.6% .301 95 105 0.3 Jose Segura
Jonathan Holder 8.7 3.4 1.2 8.8% 22.5% .294 102 98 0.3 Mark Ross
Jack Patterson 8.0 5.3 1.1 13.0% 19.4% .301 86 116 0.3 Chris Short
Duane Underwood Jr. 8.6 4.0 1.5 9.9% 21.4% .303 86 116 0.3 Yoel Hernandez
Duncan Robinson 6.1 2.6 1.6 6.6% 15.3% .302 82 122 0.2 A.J. Sager
Erich Uelmen 6.3 5.0 1.2 11.9% 15.2% .303 81 123 0.2 Jake Joseph
Ryan Tepera 9.4 4.3 1.3 11.0% 23.9% .286 101 99 0.2 Dennis Higgins
Dillon Maples 13.1 7.5 0.9 18.1% 31.6% .292 102 98 0.1 Scott Fredrickson
Kelvin Herrera 8.9 3.1 1.2 8.0% 22.9% .309 101 99 0.1 Doug Sisk
Tyler Olson 9.4 4.1 1.2 10.3% 23.6% .304 101 99 0.1 Tom Burgmeier
Wyatt Short 8.4 5.0 1.1 12.2% 20.7% .298 97 103 0.1 Dan McGinn
Pedro Strop 8.7 4.5 1.2 11.3% 22.0% .276 98 102 0.1 Al Worthington
Danny Hultzen 9.5 5.4 1.4 13.1% 23.0% .306 93 108 0.0 Darold Knowles
Jerry Vasto 9.5 4.9 1.2 12.2% 23.7% .295 95 105 0.0 Bobby Sprowl
D.J. Snelten 7.8 5.3 1.1 12.8% 19.0% .296 94 106 0.0 Jim Brewer
Brock Stewart 7.5 4.2 1.7 10.4% 18.4% .297 79 127 0.0 Landon Jacobsen
Jason Adam 10.8 5.3 1.6 13.0% 26.6% .289 91 110 0.0 Ruddy Lugo
Jake Jewell 7.6 3.9 1.2 9.9% 19.0% .297 94 107 0.0 Gary Wagner
Dan Winkler 9.8 5.4 1.3 13.4% 24.0% .288 93 107 0.0 Dave Jolly
Bailey Clark 7.5 5.7 1.1 13.7% 17.8% .298 85 118 0.0 Ken Wright
Brad Wieck 10.5 3.9 1.5 10.1% 27.4% .282 93 108 0.0 Phil Norton
Craig Brooks 10.1 6.1 1.2 14.9% 24.8% .287 93 108 0.0 George Smith
Keegan Thompson 7.2 3.1 1.9 7.8% 18.0% .300 77 129 -0.1 Matt O’Brien
Matt Dermody 7.2 2.3 1.7 5.9% 18.4% .295 90 111 -0.1 Erasmo Ramirez
Rex Brothers 12.2 7.3 1.4 17.5% 29.2% .293 85 117 -0.1 Marshall Bridges
Matt Swarmer 7.4 2.7 2.1 6.8% 18.7% .303 77 129 -0.1 Bill King
Tyson Miller 7.4 3.7 1.8 9.1% 18.2% .299 77 130 -0.1 Preston Larrison
James Norwood 10.2 5.8 1.2 14.2% 24.9% .303 89 113 -0.1 Pete Sikaras
Riley Thompson 6.3 5.0 1.6 11.9% 15.1% .295 75 134 -0.2 Jesus Silva
Kyle Ryan 8.4 4.6 1.4 11.6% 21.0% .293 88 114 -0.2 Jim Brewer
Colin Rea 6.9 4.1 1.9 9.9% 16.9% .300 75 133 -0.3 Rick Rodriguez
Dakota Mekkes 9.5 6.1 1.3 14.7% 23.0% .295 86 116 -0.3 Heathcliff Slocumb
Ben Taylor 9.5 3.7 1.7 9.3% 24.2% .303 86 116 -0.3 Jeff McCurry
Cody Allen 10.3 4.8 1.7 11.8% 25.6% .298 85 117 -0.3 Jim Czajkowski
Ben Hecht 8.5 6.8 1.0 16.0% 20.2% .301 81 123 -0.4 Darin Moore
Manuel Rodriguez 8.4 6.7 1.1 15.8% 19.9% .293 82 122 -0.4 Dave Cole
Gray Fenter 7.5 6.3 1.5 14.7% 17.6% .294 73 137 -0.4 Luz Portobanco
Luis Lugo 7.0 5.0 1.8 11.9% 16.7% .302 71 141 -0.6 John Courtright
Jordan Minch 7.1 5.8 1.8 13.6% 16.5% .301 69 145 -1.0 George Sherrill

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2021 due to injury, and players who were released in 2020. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in August to form a Finnish industrial death metal fourth-wave ska J-pop band, he’s still listed here intentionally.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR, which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in the full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR. ZiPS is assuming that the designated hitter will continue in force in 2021; if it does not, there will be widespread minor adjustments across the board come April.

ZiPS is agnostic about future playing time by design. For more information about ZiPS, please refer to this article, or get angry at Dan on Twitter or something.





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
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We should have seen it coming when Theo made the Cubbies put his niece in the starting rotation….